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Divided by a Common LanguageFactional Conflict in Late Northern Song China$
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Ari Daniel Levine

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832667

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832667.001.0001

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Retributive Justice

Retributive Justice

Factional Rhetoric in the Post-Reform Era, 1094–1104

(p.126) Chapter Six Retributive Justice
Divided by a Common Language

Ari Daniel Levine

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter analyzes when reformists fought their way back from exile to dominate the post-reform phase. When Xuanren died in 1093, Zhezong inaugurated his personal rule and committed himself to an ideological program of “restoration” (shaoshu), rehabilitating the reformists and reviving the New Policies. Seeking revenge for Cai Que's death, Zhang Dun formed a vertical alliance with the emperor and persuaded him to systematically purge the antireformists from court. The surviving antireformists were later blacklisted, and their leaders were indicted on trumped-up charges of treason and factionalism in the Korean Relations Institute (Tongwen guan) inquisition; they were ultimately deported to Lingnan. When Zhezong died without an heir in 1100, Shenzong's consort Empress Dowager Qinsheng (1045–1101) assumed the regency for his younger brother Emperor Huizong and began to rehabilitate a new generation of antireformists. When Qinsheng died in 1101, Huizong began his personal rule, resolving to revive and expand reformist governance under the influence of his councilor, Cai Jing. Prosecuting the most brutal and comprehensive political purge in the history of the dynasty, Huizong promulgated three separate factional blacklists (dangji) between 1102 and 1104, banning more than 300 antireformists and their descendants from officeholding as a “faction.” In these proscriptions, which represented the endgame of the factional conflict, most of the antireform opposition were exiled en masse to fringe prefectures, where they were subject to movement restrictions, and an unknown number died. The silencing of political and ideological dissent enabled the Cai Jing ministry to revive and extend the New Policies and to build a patronage machine that monopolized power for twenty-five years, with minimal interruptions, almost until the fall of the Northern Song.

Keywords:   antireformists, factionalism, faction rhetoric, Northern Song, Zhezong, Zhang Dun, Qinsheng, Emperor Huizong, Cai Jing

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